Fairtrade: How “green” is it and how does it mitigate climate change

You’ve seen the fairtrade labels on bananas and groceries such as tea and coffee. You may have even heard that it’s currently Fairtrade Fortnight, which runs until 11 March. But just how “green” is Fairtrade and how is it helping to mitigate climate change?

Research carried out by the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich indicates that climate change “will have mainly negative impacts upon agricultural production, food security and economic development, especially in developing countries”.

Fairtrade coffee producers in Latin America are currently being severely affected by the spread of the leaf rust disease which is affecting over 50% of the total coffee growing area in Central America. Climate change has been identified as a key factor facilitating the outbreak.

Fairtrade producers are also being affected in Africa. Tea farmers in East Africa, for instance, suffered heavy frost events in early 2012 which destroyed thousands of acres of bushes.

Research suggests that by 2050 the productivity of coffee, cocoa, tea or cotton will severely be affected and production in some areas might even disappear. Many farmers will need to adapt their practices to the new climatic conditions or risk losing their livelihoods.

Fairtrade Bristol made a video below on some of the issues around Fairtrade and climate change, and shows some of the ways in which the Fairtrade Foundation is helping to mitigate climate change.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

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